Whether you are looking for your first furry companion or your next family dog, your new pup will need training. But training a dog can be a tall task and overwhelming, especially to first-time owners. That may lead you to ask yourself, "which breeds are easiest to train?" Well, with consistency and patience, dogs of all ages can learn basic commands and obedience training. Some, however, will naturally learn more quickly than others and may excel in more complex tasks, such as agility training. Here are 10 dog breeds that are easy to train.
1. Australian Cattle Dog
Also known as Blue Heelers, these dogs are known to be intelligent, determined, and highly active. Since they are very high energy, Australian Cattle Dogs (ACDs) need consistent exercise so they don't become bored and destructive. Despite being independent thinkers, ACDs are hard workers that like to have a job to do or task to complete. Training can help give this breed that sense of purpose. Additionally, these dogs are loyal to their family but can be aloof to strangers, so will more likely follow commands from those they trust.
2. Border Collie
Border Collies are known as the most intelligent dog breed of all, often being called "whip-smart workaholics." While they are easy to train and learn quickly, it's recommended that you start early and remain consistent with your training to ensure they understand that you are the teacher. They are energetic, athletic and alert herders that do best when kept busy, making them a great choice for obedience or agility training.
3. Doberman Pinscher
Dobermans are somewhat misunderstood but have many great qualities. They are good family dogs, courageous, energetic and easy to train. Since this breed is known for their protection skills, they are not always naturally obedient. But they are extremely loyal to their owners, so they are usually willing to obey them. They are also known for being enthusiastic workers and praised for their intelligence, ability to learn quickly and retain information. All of these characteristics make Dobermans a top choice for first responders. You may be able to start training as early as eight weeks old (with socialization training recommended beginning around 12 weeks old). Since they learn quickly, they will do best with a strong, experienced owner to guide, socialize, and obedience train them.
4. German Shepherd
Similar to Dobermans, the German Shepherd dog (GSD) is notable for its use by police forces and other first responders. This breed is known to be strong, confident, loyal, loving, hardworking, and smart. They can be trained in a wide variety of areas and tend to excel at obedience work and agility courses. German Shepherds are tireless workers with a desire to please their handlers, which is why they are often seen as guide dogs, police and military dogs, drug task force dog and more. The GSD is a great choice if you are looking for a dog that is eager to follow your commands, protect you, and love you unconditionally.
5. Golden Retriever
Golden Retrievers are, unsurprisingly, one of the most popular dog breeds. These dogs are not only very attractive, they are loyal, friendly, loving, athletic, energetic and smart. Goldens can be silly and fun, but don't underestimate their intelligence. Known for being great with children and other animals, such as cats, their devotion to family and eagerness to please makes them one of the most trainable breeds. Bonus: they tend to be very food motivated, which makes training even easier. Their trainability makes them a top choice for assistance, therapy, law enforcement, and search and rescue dogs.
6. Labrador Retriever
The most popular dog breed in America is the Labrador Retriever. This gentle and versatile breed is extremely trainable thanks to their intelligence, excellent attitude, calm and outgoing demeanor, and eagerness to please and learn. They are a top choice for therapy, assistance, and guide dogs as well as contraband detective, search and rescue, and other law enforcement work. Additionally, Labradors make great family members because they are loyal, loving, smart, cheerful and amusing.
7. Miniature Schnauzer
The Mini Schnauzer is an easily trainable, great family companion that is also considered a hypoallergenic breed. These small dogs are affectionate, alert, loyal, energetic, smart, eager to please, playful and fearless. This quick-learning breed responds well to firm and consistent training using positive reinforcement. They do have an independent and stubborn side if their owner hasn't established that they are the pack leader. However, once they are well-trained and socialized, they are loyal and loving.
Considered one of the most trainable toy dog breeds, Papillons are naturally curious and learn quickly. They respond well to positive reinforcement but need consistency. However, they love attention so it's important to keep them focused and learning. They are athletic and energetic, making them a great match for agility training and courses. Additionally, this breed is great for families as they are small, spirited, smart, sweet, sassy, and eager to please.
Poodles are popular around the world, thanks to their striking looks. But they are also obedient, intelligence, hard-working and eager to please. Some consider Poodles to be the second smartest breed in the world, as they are quick-learners and highly trainable. They do, however, require early training and socialization to avoid the development or anxiety. Aside from being incredibly intelligent, they are energetic, playful, full of love and even hypoallergenic.
10. Shetland Sheepdog
Known for herding, the Shetland Sheepdog (or Sheltie) is playful, affectionate and intelligent. They are eager to please and enjoy learning new behaviors, making them very trainable. They are energetic, which is why they are excellent competitors in dog sports such as agility or obedience. Shelties are also known for being very responsive to their owners, and they learn best with treats and lots of positive reinforcement. Early training and socialization is recommended to prevent Shelties from developing bad habits, like nipping and barking.